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MEL LAB

Fronto-tectal white matter connectivity mediates facilitatory effects of non-invasive neurostimulation on visual detection

Quentin Romain, Chanes Lorena, Migliaccio Raffaella, Valabrègue Romain, Valero-cabré Antoni

Abstract

the causal ability of pre-target fef activity to modulate visual detection for perithreshold stimuli has been recently demonstrated in humans by means of non-invasive neurostimulation. yet in spite of the network-distributed effects of these type of techniques, the white matter (wm) tracts and distant visual nodes contributing to such behavioral impact remain unknown. we hereby used individual data from a group of healthy human subjects, who received time-locked pulses of active or sham transcranial magnetic stimulation (tms) to the right frontal eye field (fef) region, and experienced increases in visual detection sensitivity. we then studied the extent to which interindividual differences in visual modulation might be dependent on the wm patterns linking the targeted area to other regions relevant for visuo-attentional behaviors. we report a statistically significant correlation between the probability of connection in a right fronto-tectal pathway (fef-superior colliculus) and the modulation of visual sensitivity during a detection task. our findings support the potential contribution of this pathway and the superior colliculus in the mediation of visual performance from frontal regions in humans. furthermore, we also show the ability of a tms/dti correlational approach to contribute to the disambiguation of the specific long-range pathways driving network-wide neurostimulatory effects on behavior, anticipating their future role in guiding a more efficient use of focal neurostimulation.


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